The Les Paul guitar, originally designed by Ted McCarty and Les Paul in the 1950s, is an iconic instrument cherished by guitarists worldwide. While Gibson is known for its classic Les Paul models, several other guitar brands have produced exceptional variations that capture the essence of this timeless design.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore some of the best Les Paul guitars across different brands, highlighting their unique features, tonal qualities, and playability.
1. Gibson Les Paul Standard
Starting with the gold standard, the Gibson Les Paul Standard is revered for its unmatched craftsmanship, tone, and aesthetics. With its mahogany body, maple top, and humbucker pickups, it delivers rich sustain and a well-balanced sound suitable for various music genres. The classic Burstbucker pickups provide vintage tones, making it a top choice for classic rock and blues enthusiasts.
2. Epiphone Les Paul Standard PlusTop Pro
Epiphone, Gibson’s budget-friendly sister company, has consistently impressed players with its Les Paul Standard PlusTop Pro. Combining affordability with quality, this guitar features a mahogany body, a beautiful flame maple top, and ProBucker pickups that offer versatile tones. Its slim taper D-profile neck ensures comfortable playability, making it an excellent choice for beginners and experienced players alike.
3. PRS SE 245 Standard
Paul Reed Smith (PRS) guitars have gained widespread acclaim for their craftsmanship and versatility. The PRS SE 245 Standard takes inspiration from the Les Paul design but incorporates PRS’s unique touches. It boasts a mahogany body and neck, with a 24.5″ scale length that provides a slightly different feel than the traditional 24.75″ scale. The SE 245 Standard’s dual humbuckers deliver warm, punchy tones suitable for rock, blues, and jazz.
4. ESP LTD EC-1000
ESP guitars are renowned for their association with heavy metal and hard rock, and the LTD EC-1000 is no exception. This Les Paul-inspired guitar features a mahogany body, a flamed maple top, and a set of high-output EMG pickups, making it ideal for players seeking aggressive, distorted tones. The Thin U-shaped neck profile ensures lightning-fast playability, catering to the needs of shredders and metal enthusiasts.
5. Ibanez AR2619 Prestige
The Ibanez AR2619 Prestige is a stunning example of how Ibanez can successfully infuse the Les Paul design with its distinct flair. The AR2619 features a mahogany body with a beautiful flamed maple top and Super 80 Flying Finger humbuckers. Its comfortable and slim AR neck profile allows for effortless soloing, making it a favorite among jazz, blues, and rock players.
6. Gretsch G6128T Players Edition Jet FT
Gretsch is renowned for its hollow-body guitars, but the G6128T Players Edition Jet FT proves the brand can produce a mean solid-body Les Paul-style guitar too. With a mahogany body and a chambered spruce center block, the G6128T offers a unique blend of warmth and resonance. The High Sensitive Filter’Tron pickups provide clear, dynamic tones suitable for rockabilly, jazz, and alternative rock.
In conclusion, the Les Paul guitar design has transcended its origins at Gibson to become a staple across various guitar brands. While the Gibson Les Paul Standard remains the pinnacle of excellence, the guitars mentioned in this guide demonstrate the versatility and innovation of other manufacturers.
Whether you’re a classic rock enthusiast, a metalhead, a jazz aficionado, or anything in between, there’s a Les Paul-inspired guitar out there to suit your playing style and tonal preferences. Remember to try out different models, as personal comfort and connection with an instrument are crucial factors in finding the best Les Paul guitar for you.